I was invited to join the Hidden Hackfall exhibition earlier this year which is to begin at Masham gallery on 20th September and runs until 4th November 2019.
I had never visited the woodland before so it was a wonderful opportunity to explore. I made 3 visits to the woods during the year and was very kindly given some rounds from the ancient Oak tree which stands proudly above the woodland. This tree is featured on the ancient tree registry and is many 100's of years old. She lost one of her limbs and it is from this that I have been able to produce 3 different prints. To view the tree from Hackfall, just climb up to the Banqueting house and it is in the field behind this.
The view from the banqueting house is wonderful.
On my first visit I was given a piece of Beech which had fallen and I subsequently prepared it and printed it.
I returned to the woodland in May end enjoyed the walks though the Bluebells, which are really beautiful. But for me the mystery of the woodland and the movements and changes it goes through with the action of the river is what fascinates. The river Ure is dramatic and changes from gentleness to raging torrents. The rising river moves trees and wood through the landscape, and then deposits them when they become too heavy. I explored the walls of twigs and pieces of wood which lie next to the river and found a heron's beak!
The feathers belonged to the 2 geese which live next to the woods.
I also found branches with lovely patterns on them. I have found pieces like this before from the wood left by the river Allen in Northumberland and wondered if it was to do with the action of water. But it only occurs on a few pieces so I think it must be related to the species of tree too.
My last visit was in September on a very rainy day. I revisited the rivers edge and was stunned by the large tree which was sitting in the river. I would love the opportunity to explore this tree more and maybe manage to cut a piece from her. So I will come back again!
I also picked an inconsequential piece of wood from the piles of debris dropped by the river. She was small and light enough to carry and I didn't expect much from it. However when I sliced the piece I found it was really interesting with spalting inside.
I have printed the wood and I am also playing with the idea of using a slice of it as an object in an art box.
My involvement with Hackfall has been a lovely experience and by looking closely and exploring I have found treasures which it would be easy to walk past unnoticed. I look forward to more visits and finding more wood to print!